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By Vernacular
Vernacular explores what it means to fully embrace our humanity. It's not a philosophy podcast. Nor is it simply a lifestyle podcast. It's a little bit of both, but not really either. It's music reviews and movie previews, sports forecasts and food recipes, philosophizing on the nature of knowledge and prognosticating on the future of science. Learn more at
episode 87: conveying humanity through film
In this episode, we sit down with filmmaker Chandler Ryd to talk about his latest project, Into the Plains. Along the way, we ask Chandler about the task of the filmmaker in conveying truth through the lens of experience, and get his thoughts on the effect of YouTube and Instagram on modern filmmaking. 
July 9, 2018
bonus episode: the popped cast!
For this week's Vernacular, we're cross-posting from the newest show on the Vernacular Podcast Network! It's episode three of The Popped Cast, featuring Josh and Maureen Goldman, who talk weird celebrity baby names (after Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV's Fixer Upper named their new baby boy "Crew" ), Johnny Depp's recent struggles, Roseanne without Roseanne, and celebrity commencement speeches as this year's graduations finally wrap up.  Email Josh and Maureen at!  Subscribe to the Popped Cast on Apple Podcasts | Google Play
July 2, 2018
living immediately
In episode 86 of Vernacular, we discuss yet another essential aspect of being human: living immediately. We unpack the concept, give a defense of why it is essential to a truly human life, consider the numerous challenges that modern life poses to the goal of living immediately, and address possible objections. We share some of the ways we have personally found it difficult to live immediately and the steps we've taken to start to overcome those difficulties. Let us know your thoughts and what you do to live immediately in your own life!
June 25, 2018
Golfing in the Dark (Part 2)
In part two of this special Father's Day episode from 3rd String Podcast, Zac (@ZacCrippen), Pete Laclede (@Pete_Laclede), and Josh Goldman (@GoldmanStandard) talk about the defining biography of Tiger Woods and the lessons that fathers everywhere can draw from it. Also be sure to check out Zac's longform piece on Tiger Woods, Golfing in the Dark Don't miss the Vernacular Podcast Network's newest show, The Popped Cast, launching later this month! Josh and Maureen Goldman host this pop culture addition to the Vernacular lexicon.
June 15, 2018
Golfing in the Dark: Tiger Woods and Fatherhood
In part one of this special Father's Day episode from 3rd String Podcast, Zac (@ZacCrippen), Pete Laclede (@Pete_Laclede), and Josh Goldman (@GoldmanStandard) talk about the defining biography of Tiger Woods and the lessons that fathers everywhere can draw from it. Also be sure to check out Zac's longform piece on Tiger Woods, Golfing in the Dark Don't miss the Vernacular Podcast Network's newest show, The Popped Cast, launching later this month! Josh and Maureen Goldman host this pop culture addition to the Vernacular lexicon.
June 15, 2018
the necessity of suffering
Why is suffering important for our understanding of what it means to be human? Would a life devoid of suffering be a life without meaning? Can our suffering be redeemed? In the latest episode, we examine all of these questions and more, arguing that suffering--just like mortality--is essential to being human. 
June 4, 2018
"the crown" season 2: it's still not easy being queen
In the latest episode of Vernacular, Zac and Sally talk to Catherine (@ashortblonde) and Jordan (@JordanDShort) Short about season two of The Crown, why it's the best show on television today, its portrayal of marriage, and the power of its wordless scenes. To hear our season one discussion from last year, "it's not easy being queen," head here. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!
May 21, 2018
bonus episode: a patreon lightning round + zac & sally chat
In this episode of Vernacular, we take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to talk to contributor/listener/Patreon supporter Joshua de Gastyne and put him through the paces of our lightning round. Then we talk about what books, movies, podcasts, and food that we've been enjoying lately.
May 14, 2018
why not immortality?
In this episode, we discuss the attraction and hope of immortality: a life without death and possibly a life without aging and the suffering that accompanies aging. For the sake of this conversation, we assume that eventually medical technology will make immortality an option for people. So we ask and answer Leon Kass' question: why not immortality? The costs of immorality (the Justice Cost, Personal Cost, and Intergenerational Cost) are such that an immortal life is no longer a truly human life. Ultimately, we conclude that immortality is not compatible with a truly human life, would instead rob us of our humanity, and would not fulfill our deepest human desires.
May 7, 2018
the stages and shape of a human life
In episode 82, we discuss the stages and span of a human life. What are those stages? Do we see and experience them as discrete units on a timeline? Or is there an overall shape to the human lifecycle that all people share and that gives it meaning as a whole? We argue for the latter view and also share our favorite/least favorite life stages. Finally, we address possible objections to the shape view. Stay tuned for the next episode when we take this conversation a step further and discuss aging, death, and immortality.
April 23, 2018
embodied souls and ensouled bodies
In this episode of Vernacular, we discuss the question: what is a human person? Are we pure soul? Spirit? Mind? Just a body? We describe the human person as a union of soul and body--an embodied soul and an ensouled body--in which both elements are good. Then we identify competing ideas and misconceptions about the nature of the human person. Finally we explore our experience of embodiment and how embodiment should impact how we treat ourselves and others. If you enjoyed this discussion, we recommend Gilbert Meilaender's book "Neither Beast Nor God." 
April 8, 2018
travel, mental health, and being human
In this episode, we chat with Tsh Oxenreider about mental health and how travel can help us be more fully human. Tsh is an Austin, TX native, podcaster (creator and host of The Simple Show and Women's Work), author, entrepreneur, wife, and mom who traveled with her family of five around the world to 30 countries in 9 months. We end the show with a lightning round and Tsh gives us her take on Austin. If you enjoy this conversation, we recommend you check out The Simple Show archives for more travel tips, especially episodes 117-120, 68-72, and 34-37.
March 26, 2018
the end of medicine
In this third installment of our series on the art of being human, we discuss the end (or purpose) of medicine. What should medicine aim to do? What does it mean to be a healthy human person? We also answer a listener question about science and the space race, and talk about why we're not gnostic. If you like this episode, be sure to read Leon Kass' 1975 article, "Regarding the End of Medicine and the Pursuit of Health."
March 11, 2018
a truly human science
In episode 78, the second in our series on the art of being human, we discuss the relationship between science or scientific pursuits and what it means to be human. Instead, we spend this episode answering two questions: what are the possible aims of a scientific project and which of those aims comport with what it means to be human--which of them are "truly human" aims? Once again, all in under 20 minutes!
February 25, 2018
beauty in imperfection
We discuss the fact that all human beings fall short of perfection and yet we want to be perfect in some or all areas of our lives. What does it mean to live a fully human life and accept imperfection? How do we balance a desire to better ourselves with the importance of finding genuine contentment with our failures and possibly even celebrating our imperfections? We relate these questions to a short story, movie, and book as well as real life--all in under 20 minutes!
February 12, 2018
announcing a new vernacular!
In this episode, we introduce our plans for the new Vernacular Podcast, which will air every other week going forward. Then we chat about why you shouldn't make New Year's "resolutions" and share things we want to carry over from 2017 and things we want to do differently in 2018. We will be back in two weeks with a new episode exploring a topic and how it relates to what it means to be human.
January 29, 2018
45 Years Since Roe: Abortion in America
To commemorate the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we're re-airing this episode from our second season, in which we examine abortion's legal history in the United States, focusing on the flawed reasoning in Supreme Court decisions and the faulty data on which the justices have relied, abortion's medical, emotional, and psychological risks to women, sex-selective abortion, Planned Parenthood, and public opinion on the topic in America today.
January 21, 2018
everyone needs a therapist
We ring in the new year with a conversation about mental health and self care with Julia Hogan, a License Clinical Professional Counselor, psychotherapist, speaker, and writer. Julia chats with us about the value of therapy, the ubiquity of mental health challenges (especially in younger generations), and the importance of prioritizing self care. As you head into 2018, hopefully you can gain some insights from this conversation! For more of Julia's work, you can check out
January 2, 2018
christmas greetings from poland
In this very special and spontaneous episode of Vernacular, we call listener Pawel from Poland and get to hear all about Polish Christmas traditions. He also shares how he met his American wife and we give him an abbreviated lightning round. We hope you enjoy this mini episode as you prepare for Christmas--all twelve days of it! A very merry Christmas from us here at Vernacular!
December 23, 2017
an upside-down christmas
Netflix In this episode we talk with filmmaker Chandler Ryd and film enthusiast Lara Forsythe about seasons one and two of Netflix's hit series Stranger Things. We dissect our favorite characters, examine differences between seasons one and two, question the Duffer brothers' vision for the future of the series, and share our favorite fan theories and predictions. Spoilers abound, so if you haven't seen the show, go watch it and then come back to listen! 
December 21, 2017
stronger is always better
In this episode, we sit down with recurring guest Nathan Seibt to talk about his recovery from a horrific automobile accident and how strength training has aided this process. You can check out more about strength training through resources like Starting Strength, and it's never too late to begin! For more of the backstory on Nathan and his family's car accident, check out episodes 9 and 38 of Vernacular. 
December 14, 2017
it's not easy being queen
Photo Credit: Netflix In this episode, we sit down with contributors Jordan and Catherine Short to discuss season 1 of Netflix's The Crown, in advance of season 2's release later this week. Among our questions, we ask whether or not we would be willing to accept "the crown" if it were offered to us, Elizabeth II's preparation for her role as queen, the director's portrayal of Church
December 6, 2017
the one where we talk about unintended pregnancy, rock climbing, and mental health
In this episode, we interview Zac's brother Schuyler and our sister-in-law Noelle about their passions. Noelle, an emergency room physician assistant by day, shares about her part-time work at a local pregnancy care center, why she hasn't always called herself "pro-life" and the ways in which we can support women who find themselves unintentionally pregnant. Schuyler, a consultant by day, shares about his love of rock climbing, why everyone should give it a try, and how it helps him combat his mental health struggles. 
November 28, 2017
the one about home for the holidays
In this episode of Vernacular, we continue the theme of home that we introduced in episode 68. Perennial contributors Catherine and Jordan Short return to discuss how to make a house feel like home during the holidays (without going overboard!). We chat traditions, decor, and music and share both our positive and negative "sense memories" of the holidays. Zac reveals our "
November 22, 2017
the one where we talk about how to make a haus a home
In episode 68 we talk to Mary and Cody Strecker about life abroad in Germany, how moving a lot has strengthened their family, the challenges (and joys!) of creating a home when their home keeps changing, and the importance of enjoying the great outdoors. We close with a lightning round that features bratwurst and schnitzel. If you like this conversation, be sure to follow Mary on Instagram!
November 14, 2017
***bonus episode*** Announcing 3rd String, the newest Vernacular podcast!
Several weeks ago, we announced the launch of 3rd String, a new podcast from Vernacular. We're in full swing now, and wanted to take the opportunity to release a full episode here on the Vernacular feed. In the 5th full episode, Pete Laclede and Zac break down game 7 of the World Series, talk about George Springer’s MVP performance in the whole series, and discuss the new College Football Playoff Committee rankings, Lane Kiffin’s Twitter antics, why the
November 7, 2017
the one where we talk with a vintage watch expert
In episode 6 of season 7, we chat with Eric Wind, a vintage watch specialist who recently left Christie's Auction House to start Wind Vintage, an independent vintage watch dealer. Eric chats with us about the formative role that wristwatches played in his childhood, how he turned a hobby into a career, and the unique (and surprising) history of wristw
November 1, 2017
the one where we talk about city planning and the 24/7 news cycle
In episode 5 of season 7, we bring contributor Elena on the show as our first-ever guest host. We chat about Google's founders planning a city, whether we can really live without iMessage, and the minimal media coverage of
October 24, 2017
From the Archives: 'the one where we talk to a former Googler and current Uber-er' (s4e6)
While we are off gallivanting in California, we thought you might enjoy this episode from the Vernacular archives! It's a conversation with ex-Googler Steffi Bryson, now working for Uber, about the internet age and the security and privacy issues it creates. We also talk about what it's like to work at Google. It's a great conversation we're pretty sure you don't want to miss!
October 10, 2017
two nights at the round table because zac forgot to hit 'record'
A scene from Taylor Swift's latest music video In this installment, we talk with contributors Will Brian and Miriel Reneau about Taylor Swift's new single, Look What You Made Me Do, a federal judge's efforts to get women and minorities more involved in h
October 4, 2017
the one where we talk about CRISPR
In episode 2 of season 7, we interview Dr. William Hurlbut, a Stanford medical doctor and bioethicist, about the pros and cons of CRISPR-Cas9, a targeted DNA editing tool. He also tells us about his
September 26, 2017
the one where we start something new
In the very first episode of season 7, we announce the launch of our new sports podcast 3rd String, hosted by Zac and Vernacular contributor Ishan Nath, and we bring long-time listener Nathan Seibt back on for a lightning round. We also discuss recent developments in the tech world and share what we are up to lately. Apple's 1984 commercial 
September 19, 2017
the one where we talk about drinking wine under the eclipsed tuscan sun
In the final episode of season six, we sit down with contributor Margaret Perry, General Manager of Kyirisan, to talk about food that we should be on the lookout for this time of year. Margaret and Sally celebrate the bounty of late summer produce, and Margaret shares with us some excellent reading suggestions on food and wine, including
August 25, 2017
the one where we talk about the future
In episode 9, we bring back "The Professor" (our contributor Will Brian) to chat with us about physicist Michio Kaku's book "Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives in the Year 2100." Will shares his own opinions and also responds to criticisms of the book. We cover everything from
August 15, 2017
the one where we talk about Dunkirk and Nolan time
Christopher Nolan's "Dunkirk", in theaters now In episode 8, we talk with Chandler Ryd, filmmaker and proprietor of Ryd Films, about Christopher Nolan's latest film, Dunkirk. Chandler explains the mastery of storytelling throughout the film and dismisses the suggestion that Churc
August 6, 2017
the one where we talk about going to mars and eating algae (not at the same time)
In this season's seventh episode (and final episode before we move from St. Louis!), Zac shares some news in the world of baseball, science, tech, and
July 27, 2017
the one where we talk about avocado toast and buying a house
In episode six, we talked to our contributor (and certified Investment Adviser Representative) Elena Forsythe about millennial spending habits. We examine the claim that millennials spend too much money on avocado toast, discuss what it takes to save up enough money for a house, and talk about some
July 19, 2017
the one where we talk about latte art
In episode 5, we sit down with Carly Hubbard, owner and manager of Rough Draft, a Michigan coffeehouse and cocktail bar. We talk about the stresses of owning and operating a restaurant, the importance of being brave enough to leave your comfort zone, the food culture of Michigan, and the unfortunate ubiquity of the fern in latte art. Join the conversation with us on Twitter or
July 11, 2017
the one where we talk about parenting, uncertainty, and the confessional
In this episode, we talk with contributor Miriel Reneau about the joys and challenges of parenting, especially when one of your children has a genetic condition with an uncertain prognosis. Miriel shares some great insights on marriage, faith, and family life as she and her husband have helped their daughter through a challenging last year. It's a great conversation and definitely worth a listen--let us know your thoughts on Instagram,
July 3, 2017
the one where we talk about ancient Rome, Xanax, and fidget spinners
In the first roundtable episode of season six, we sit down with Ishan Nath and Kevin Beauchemin to discuss interesting articles we've collected from around the web. In the course of our conversation, we dissect the 2016 election (and broader voter behavior), discuss the importance of political norms in ancient Rome, and talk about the prevalence of anxiety in America and how we can calm our nerves (hint: it's not the fidget spinner). 
June 22, 2017
the one where we talk about imagination
In episode 2 of season 6, we sit down with Brian Brown, principal and founder of Narrator, author and editor at Humane Pursuits, and founder of the Anselm Society, to discuss the importance of cultivating imagination through storytelling and the arts. Brian also shares his favorite cocktail recipe and his top three book picks. But first we have a
June 16, 2017
the one where we come to grips with our personalities
Image from In the first episode (!) of our sixth season, we sit down with longtime contributors Jordan and Catherine Short to talk about personality typing, especially through the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the
June 9, 2017
the one where we talk about being mortal
"Et in Arcadia Ego" by Nicolas Poussin, c. 1638. In the final installment of season 5, we discuss the last selection in the Vernacular Book Club: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Harvard surgeon and New Yorker writer Atul Gawande. As the
May 22, 2017
the one where we talk about meaning
When Emily Esfahani Smith joined us in Season 2, she gave us a sneak preview of the book that she was working on, and how she believed that finding meaning in your life came down to four "pillars": belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence. In episode 4 of season 5, we continue the Vernacular Book Club with a discussion of Emily's finished work, The Power of
April 23, 2017
the one where we take a break from the book club
In episode 3 of season 5, we take a break from the Vernacular Book Club and catch up on life lately. We chat about the start of the baseball season (check out Zac's new blog!), our upcoming trip to California, Sally's eats, and what we've been reading and listening to (*hint hint* S*Town). Join the conversation and join the book club (next month's book is The Power of Meaning) by connecting with us via email, soci
April 8, 2017
the one where we try to pronounce Ove
In episode 2 of season 5, we continue the Vernacular Book Club with a discussion of Fredrik Backman's bestselling novel A Man Called Ove. Be prepared for spoilers and our poor (and varied) pronunciations of Ove. We loved this book and we hope you enjoy(ed) it too! If you haven't read it yet, we definitely recommend reading it before seeing the recent movie adaptation. While not perfect (we do have criticisms!), Backman is clearly a storytelling master. Join the conversation about Ove o
March 4, 2017
the one where we can't stop talking about Quiet
In episode 1 of season 5, we kick off the Vernacular Book Club with a discussion of Susan Cain's bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. With Zac on Skype, Sally attempting to maneuver Garageband for the first time, and both of us sleep-deprived, we share our impressions of the major elements of Cain's argument and our experiences as an extrovert/introvert (can you guess which one of us is which?). We also announce the birth of our s
February 4, 2017
the one where we talk about Thanksgiving, South Sudan, and the purpose of medicine
In the final episode of season 12, Matthew Loftus joins us to discuss his medical work in Yei, South Sudan, where he and his family lived until recently. We talk about ethical decisions in medical practice, wrestling with mortality, and lessons that medicine and theology can teach us about race relations. It's a really good conversation and a high note on which to conclude season 4! We also talk about our plans for season 5 and announce the books that we will be reading in our Vernacular
November 25, 2016
the one where we talk about porn and rape culture
It is difficult to overstate the link between pornography and rape culture: pornography promises cheap thrills, quick satisfaction, and no consequences. But how does pornography shape the minds of its viewers? Has it crippled a generation's ability to relate to the opposite sex? This is what we're talking about in this episode, and the results are alarming. Mary Rose Somarriba of Verily Magazine joins us to talk about her latest research and writing at this intersection, and to talk to
November 4, 2016
the one where we talk about our favorite media
In this short episode, we're broadcasting on location from Montgomery, Alabama! We break down some of our favorite recent books and magazines, discuss television, and recommend some new podcasts. You can find links to everything we discuss on our blog. Let us know what we missed! @VernacularPod or
October 20, 2016
the one where we learn more about hop farming & GMOs
In this episode, we catch up with Season 1 guests Astrid and Aaron Cevallos, who own and run a hop farm in Virginia. They update us on their second hop crop and share their views on organic v. GMO farming. Then we chat with Abby and Aaron Hummel, a writer and research scientist respectively, about genetical
October 4, 2016
the one where we gather at the round table and talk about editing human genes
In Episode 8, Zac and Sally round up several Vernacular contributors (Kevin Beauchemin, Will Brian, Elena Forsythe, & Joshua de Gastyne) to discuss the ethics of human gene editing including the use of the technology CRISPR-Cas9. Let us know your opinions on this topic after you take a listen! If you want to learn more, check out our
September 19, 2016
the one where we talk about the coming robot taxi apocalypse
In this episode, Zac & Sally kick things off with a conversation about the things they are most looking forward to about fall and cooler weather. Next, listener (and previous guest!) Theresa joins us for a lightning round, and then contributor Will Brian joins us with his wife Caitlin to talk about their recent experience in an escape room. We also talk with them about Uber's recent announcement that they are launching a fleet of self-driving cars in PIttsburgh. Check out
September 3, 2016
fall sports preview!
In this episode, Zac and Ishan break down some of the prominent storylines in the sports world this fall, including: how Kevin Durant's trade to the Golden State Warriors affect the Dubs' title chances, baseball's greatest phenom, Tim Tebow's shot at the majors, the problem with college football preseason rankings, and the Super Bowl champion. Check it out and let us know what you think!
September 3, 2016
the one where we talk to a former Googler and current Uber-er
In Episode 6 of Season 4, we call listener Schuyler for his very own lightning round, chat with former Googler Steffi Bryson, now working for Uber, about security and privacy issues, and announce our new Vernacular Podcast t-shirts. It's a great conversation we're pretty sure you don't want to miss!
August 21, 2016
the one where we talk about adoption and suffering
In Episode 5, we give contributor Elena a bespoke lightning round, talk to Dr. Gilbert Meilaender about his forthcoming book Not by Nature but by Grace: Forming Families through Adoption, and bring back Nathan & Sadie Seibt from Season 1
August 15, 2016
the one where we talk about donuts, brains, and more Pokémon
In Episode 4, we call listener Brittany for a "lightning round" and chat about our new favorite Philadelphia eats. Then we invite writer and editor Alexi Sargeant on the show to share his argument in favor of Pokemon Go! (after we trashed it last week). Finally, contributor Joshua joins us to discuss the meri
August 1, 2016
the one where we talk about how God finds us and we find little pocket monsters
In this installment of Vernacular, Leah Libresco of FiveThirtyEight and Unequally Yoked joins us to talk about her conversion from atheism to Catholicism. Along the way, we discuss epistemology as it
July 19, 2016
the one where we talk about how to build the perfect road trip playlist
In this second episode of our fourth season, we talk to contributors Jordan and Catherine about how to build a summer road trip playlist--a timely topic before we embark on a massive trip next week! We also talk with them about what summer flicks we should be excited to see, and get an update on James Tiberius Short's arrival plans. Along the way, we talk about LaCroix beverages and how they inspired Zac and Sally's latest investment decision. 
July 15, 2016
the one where we spend a night at the round table
In this episode, we talk to contributors Kevin Beauchemin, Margaret Perry, Elena Forsythe, Will Brian, and Miriel Reneau about a variety of topics, including John Steinbeck's literature, William Deresiewicz's thought on leadership, Broadway's latest hit, genetic editing, and racial disparities in sentencing. It's a big conversation but a lot of fun.
July 1, 2016
the one where we talk about London, a baby, and leaving a law firm to be a mom
In the final episode of season 3, we talk to Theresa Breslin, author at the Brez Blog, about her decision to leave her promising career at a law firm to become a full-time mom. Theresa shares with us her reasons for making the change, even amidst piles of law school debt and a family legacy of career performance--
June 5, 2016
the one where we talk about car safety, friendship, & basketball
In Episode 9 of Season 3, we share some tips of the week from listener Nathan (who recently survived a scary car accident) about car safety and accident preparation. We chat with contributor Kevin about Aristotle, the meaning of true friendship, the impact of social media on friendship, and whether men and women can be friends. Then we bring contributor Ishan back to update us on Steph Curry and the NBA playoffs. Editorial Question of the Week: Can men and women be (true) friends? Let us know what you think!
May 21, 2016
the one where we talk about surrogacy, space travel, and how to land a rocket on a lily pad
In this episode, we sit down with Jennifer Lahl of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, an organization dedicated to working "for a human future." We talk with Jennifer about what that means, focusing our conversation on the little-known problems of surrogacy (this kind
May 14, 2016
the one where we talk about intuitive eating, marriage, and how to name a person
Yummmmm. In this episode, we talk to Kylie Mitchell of ImmaEatThat about what she calls "intuitive eating." Kylie is a registered dietitian who helps people find their fullest potential--what you might even call human flourishing--through the food that they eat. We also talk with contributors Catherine and Jordan Short, who share lesson
May 7, 2016
the one where we talk about the greeks and how to ask a question
The Parthenon In this episode of Vernacular, we talk to Kevin Beauchemin, a classics enthusiast and new contributor to the podcast, about the origins of the word peripatetic. (We became interested in this word when our guest (also a contributor!) brought it up in this episode.) We also spoke to author and blogger Matthew Lee Anderson about his latest book, 
April 26, 2016
the one where we talk about how food makes us more human
In this episode, we talk to Margaret, General Manager of Water & Wall and part of the founding team at a new Washington, D.C. restaurant called Kyirisan. Margaret tells us the story of how she ended up in the food industry and why she considers it such a key aspect of her vocation. Along the way, she educates Zac on
April 17, 2016
the one where we talk about baseball and discuss how to see the future
In this episode of Vernacular, we talk to Nathan Hitchen, co-founder and Principal at Conservative Foresight Consulting. Nathan joins us to discuss the importance of futurism and how we can all be better futurists. Along the way, we talk about political movements in America and the importance of playing the long game. We also talk about baseball, Zac's beloved Philadelphia Phillies,
April 10, 2016
the one where we talk about johnny cash, vocation, and how (not) to name a ship
The late great Johnny Cash. Join us for an interesting conversation with one of our previous guests about how we can find our vocation. Along the way, we listen to the wisdom of the great Johnny Cash, talk about Adam McKay's 'The Big Short,' extol the wonders of broccoli, and announce the RRS Boaty McBoatface. Join the conversation at, or comment below.
March 31, 2016
the one where we talk about making the world a better place, and also basketball
In this episode, we talk to Sophie Caldecott, co-founder of A Better Place Journal, about what her company does and why it does it. Along the way, we hear Sophie's moving personal account of why she started A Better Place and the role that her late father played in its inception. We also talk to Ishan Nath, a previous Vernacular guest from s1e11, about Steph Curry and the historic season of the Golden State Warriors. It's a really great conversation that you don't want to miss. Remember to rate us on iTunes and reach out to us through email,
March 18, 2016
the one where we talk about the Oscars and the coming Age of Ultron
In episode one of season three, we bring on four of our contributors--Jordan & Catherine Short, Will Brian, and Joshua de Gastyne. Jordan and Catherine help us break down all the highlights from the Oscars, including Lady Gaga's raw, emotional performance, Mad Max's collection of Academy Awards, and Leo's first Oscar (!!). Will and Joshua then help us dissect some recent trends in artificial intelligence, and we talk about how to teach machines to think and reason ethically.
March 5, 2016
43 years after Roe v. Wade
We examine abortion's legal history in the United States, focusing on the flawed reasoning in SCOTUS decisions and the faulty data on which they have relied, abortion's medical, emotional, and psychological risks to women, the sad reality of sex-selective abortion, Planned Parenthood, and public opinion on the topic in America today. Let us know what you think by emailing or calling in at (719) 357-9221. You can find more info and resources on our blog.
February 5, 2016
the one where we talk to bandmates and pizza people
In the finale of season 2, we talk to Joshua and Jordan Short of the new band, Father Hands. Joshua and Jordan talk us through some of their music and their vision for their band, and share a track off of their new EP. We also sit down with Brianna and Jonathan Cowan, the owners of a Chicago-area pizzeria. It's a fun episode and a fitting way to wrap up two full seasons of (y)our favorite podcast. For more info on Joshua, Jordan, Brianna, Jonathan, and everything else we chat about in this episode, head over to our blog.
January 16, 2016
the one where we talk about meaning and happiness
In this episode we are joined by Emily Esfahani Smith, whose work you may recognize from The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The New York Times, or other outlets. In preparation for the start of 2016 (and all the new year resolutions that come with January 1st!) we talk to Emily about what it is to live a life full of meaning, and how that might differ from the pursuit of happiness (are you listening, Jefferson?). Emily also gives us a preview of her book, due out in 2017. It's a great conversation! You can also check out our blog for more of Emily's work.
December 30, 2015
the one where we talk about invisibility and other superpowers
In episode 8 of season 2, we congratulate the winner of our giveaway (!!), talk about all the stuff that s/he won, share our contemporary preoccupations, talk about Christmas music, and chat with Dr. Will Brian about the emerging technology surround invisibility. It's a fun conversation that we're pretty sure you don't want to miss! Visit our blog for links to everything we discuss.
December 17, 2015
the one where we talk about presents!
In this episode, we talk to Catherine Short, creator of, about her gift guide. We also talk about our new giveaway (!), jointly hosted with Catherine, in which you can win a wonderful box of our favorite things. We also discuss Thanksgiving food, Black Friday, our book gift recommendations, and the difficulty in buying presents for people. Join us as we usher in the Christmas season!
November 27, 2015
the one where we talk to a singer and a magazine editor
In this episode, we talk to Brandon Showalter, a musician who recently released his first album and has a second in the works, about what music means to him, his creative process, and his future plans. We also sit down with Janet Easter, founder and style editor at Verily, a women's magazine that is on a mission "to empower and inspire women to be the best versions of themselves." We also return to one of our favorite topics--books!--and share two tips of the week!
November 14, 2015
the one where we talk about science, science, science!
In episode 5, we sit down with 3 of our contributors to talk about traveling to Mars, the existence of alien life, and a new class of brain supplements called 'nootropics.' It's a really fun conversation that we're pretty sure you don't want to miss! For articles related to everything we discuss, head over to our blog. 
November 4, 2015
the one where we talk to a food blogger and a photographer
In this episode, we talk to Seattle-based power couple Ashley and Gabe Rodriguez. Ashley is the author of the award-winning food blog Not Without Salt, and more recently the cookbook Date Night In. Gabe is a photographer and amateur pancake connoisseur. We also chat about our garage door, e-books, and pumpkin tea! Check out our blog for more information.
October 17, 2015
the one where we talk about james bond, work, and refugees
In this episode we talk to contributor Jordan Short, who talks us through a chronology of James Bond music as we evaluate Sam Smith's latest contribution to the genre. We also speak to Kristina Olney about the work of In Defense of Christians in the Middle East. Finally, contributor Miriel Reneau joins us to talk through the latest work by Anne-Marie Slaughter and Andrew Moravcsik. It's a packed episode with a lot of great conversations! Check out our blog for links to everything we mention.
October 2, 2015
the one where we talk about mental health, the gop debate, and garages
In our second episode of the season, we talk to Becca Weingard, a mental health counselor who has written a new Kindle single that she calls "a field guide to suicide survival." We also discuss ginger, tea, the GOP debate, books we're reading, and more. Pretty sure you don't want to miss this. Check out our blog for links to Becca's Kindle single, recipes, and blog.
September 19, 2015
the one where we talk about business and law
We're back! Season 2 of Vernacular Podcast has officially kicked off, with some programming changes. In each episode, we're talking to more people about more things, bringing more variety to each show. In this episode, we talk to Mae Mae about business school and working as a consultant at Bain & Co., and we are joined by our new contributor Miriel to talk about the previous term of the Supreme Court. Like what you hear? Don't like what you hear? Let us know at and check out our blog for links to the articles and cases we discussed. 
September 4, 2015
the one where we talk about season 2
It's been a fun ride, folks. Eleven full episodes of Vernacular and episodes '00' and '12' to bookend them. In this episode, we talk to two of our listeners about their thoughts on our gender dysphoria conversation, we hear from Joshua on the purpose of work, and we explore the changes that are coming to the podcast in season 2. Take a listen!
August 14, 2015
the one where we talk to two future doctors
In episode 11, we talk to Ishan and Julia, a husband-wife duo based in Chicago, where both attend graduate school. Julia is studying for her MD, while Ishan is pursuing a PhD in economics. Our conversation starts on the Greece crisis, but wanders to guinea pigs, vegetarianism, triathlons, and Dorothy Day. Join us for the conversation and check out our blog for more information. Follow Ishan on Twitter @Ishan_Nath and Julia @JuliaBNath.
August 2, 2015
the one where we talk to a geostrategist and a hops farmer
This one's a blast: we sit down with Astrid and Aaron, who are a husband-wife duo starting a new Virginia hops farm called Heritage Hops. Astrid works at a Washington think tank as a China researcher and moonlights as the Heritage Hops Director of Marketing. Aaron spends his time in the great outdoors training 20-foot hops to grow on coconut twine, a la Jack and the Beanstalk. In addition to hearing all about a hops farm, we also talk with them about the rise of the machines and a world without work. It's a great conversation! Check out their website here and head to our blog for more info!
July 19, 2015
the one where we talk to North Dakota's newest residents
Join us for a conversation with Nathan and Sadie. Nathan is a Huey helicopter pilot, and Sadie is a self-described "Colorado hippie wife," but they've recently moved to northern North Dakota (what some of us might call Canada) and are gearing up for -40 degree winters. We chat with them about Caitlyn Jenner, gender dysphoria, outdoor activities, marriage, and miscarriage. You can read more about all the stuff we discuss by heading to our blog.
July 10, 2015
special episode: freedom is never free
For July 4th, we sat down and talked with Dick Carroll, a World War II veteran who was a Prisoner of War in Hungary and has lived ever since with a bullet in his heart. Dick talks to us about the old days of the Army Air Corps and his harrowing experience bailing out behind enemy lines. Join us for a great conversation with an American hero!
July 2, 2015
the one where we talk to an aspiring biotechnologist
We had a blast talking to Joshua, an Emory University graduate who has worked all across the country but is headed to the Washington, D.C. area this fall to start medical school. We talk with him about the ethics of genetic editing, our summer book lists, and more! For links to things referenced in the episode, check out our blog about it here.
June 24, 2015
the one where we talk to a mathematician and a mom
Join us for episode 07, in which we talk to Will and Caitlin (yes, that would be Will & Cait, a homophone of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) about math, the meteor formerly known as the planet of Pluto, raising kids, road trips, and more. You can check out more of Will's work here and learn more about Pluto on our blog. 
June 18, 2015
the one where we talk to a journalist
In this episode, we talk to Anne, a Houston-based journalist who has also spent time at the Washington Bureau of the New York Times. We discuss our favorite pieces of journalism from the last twelve months, Peruvian food (Anne's mom grew up in South America), and we hear more about how Anne became a journalist. It's a lot of fun! Check out our blog for links to everything we discuss.
June 10, 2015
the one where we talk to a barista/blogger and graphic designer
In this episode of Vernacular, we talk to Jordan and Catherine--a husband-wife duo--about Google, Apple, blogging, graphic design, Nashville, Chicago, and infertility. It's a really fun conversation, and at the end you can sample some of Jordan's musical work! Follow @JordanDShort and @ashortblonde for more, and head to our blog for other links.
June 4, 2015
the one where we talk to a phd student mom
In our fourth installment, we talk to Miriel (not the elven queen) who is busy doing a PhD in American Politics, spending time with her husband (who is a medical resident), and taking care of 6-month-old Gregory, their son. We talk to Miriel about the death penalty, date ideas, and whether or not women can 'have it all.' It's a great conversation! Follow Miriel on Twitter @mirielmargaret. Visit our blog to find links to the topics and articles we discussed. 
May 18, 2015
the one where we talk to a colorado senate staffer
Join us for our third episode as we talk to Julia, who serves as Chief of Staff to a state senator in Colorado! We chat about raw milk, red lake 40, Ben & Jerry's, Jimmy Fallon, Tinder, Oman, and more. Tune in below or find us on iTunes. You can follow Julia on Twitter @JuliaKiewit. To read up on more of what we talked about, check out our blog.
May 14, 2015
the one where we talk to an itinerant chicagoan
Join us for episode 02 as we talk to Elena, who was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, but has lived in the largest Muslim community outside of the Middle East and traveled to Thailand for a Starbucks latte (and some other stuff too). We also cover the Baltimore Riots and Mumford and Sons' latest album, Wilder Mind. Follow Elena on Twitter @ElenaForsythe. For info on our #tipoftheweek about grilling, head over to our blog.
May 7, 2015
the one where we talk to a medical student
It's the first full episode of Vernacular Podcast! Join us as we talk about lawnmowers, breakfast, Cuba(n cigars), and more. We sit down with Danny, a medical student at Harvard Medical School, and hear about why he wants to be a doctor, what med school is like, and what is next for him. To access the recipes that we talk about on this episode, head over to our blog.  Reach out to us at with suggestions for next time! And follow Danny on Twitter @dlage.
April 30, 2015
the one where we speak in the vernacular
Hey everyone! It's our introductory mini-podcast--"the one where we speak in the vernacular." Tune in to hear how Zac learned what "Vernacular" means, why we chose the name, and what we plan for future episodes!
April 29, 2015
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